Mike Whitney


“Help me, Mom!”


I choked back a low sob and tried to shift his slight body, which shivered with pain into a more comfortable position in my lap. The movement made him growl and Kasem looked up at me. “Please help me, Mom.” The message was clear but I could not do anything to help him.


Kasem was my Siamese cat. He really belonged to my daughter. She usually fed him, but now she was away at school. Kasem became my shadow who fought for my love and attention. The telephone would ring and if he got there first, he would knock it off its stand and growl and scream into it. This was very disconcerting to any caller who knew nothing about our household. Friends knew enough to shout loudly into the phone, “Kasem leave the phone alone.  Put it down and shut up!”


He did just that so I could talk to whoever was calling. By the same token, if I talked too long and forgot to rub his stomach, he would try to bat the phone out of my hand while mewing loudly.


At the moment, Kasem was in great pain. He had been mauled by two big dogs, a retriever and an Irish setter. They were tired of him jumping on their backs from some tree where he would hide, and then riding them off his property in a flurry of fur and ear-splitting screams. Finally they had ganged up on him!


I had been trying to stop him from fighting with dogs, especially the big dogs. I guess it was my fault. He got much more reaction out of me for this activity than from anything else that he did. I tried to calmly thank him for all the offerings he so proudly dropped at my feet. These included badly mauled rabbits, snakes, possums and even skunks. This last gesture usually got the whole family after him. But again it was Mom who gave him a tomato juice bath and then stood under the shower with him. I was the only one who would talk to him, even if it was only to tell him what a wretched creature he was.

But now the house painter who had witnessed the whole scene was driving us to the veterinarian’s office. Kasem did not like the Vet and used to pretend he was going to attack him. We had always laughed because Kasem would always attack the hand with the glove on with teeth and paws, never any other part of the man. This time he whimpered pitifully as I gently laid him on the examination table. I held him tightly as the long needle entered his quivering flank.  The amber fluid slowly entered his body. I whispered words of love and held him until the Vet’s gentle voice told me, “You can lay him down now.” I knew that I must be brave as I had to tell the family the sad news.


I don't remember the rest of the day except that the house was now very empty and deadly quiet. I prayed for strength to control my grief. I sadly said goodbye to my cat, a great lover and warrior.


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